Influencer marketing is all the rage at the moment. Chances are if someone you follow on Instagram has any type of product displayed in their shots, they are being paid to shill it. But arguably the greatest example of kudos by association is fictional; in the original novels, 007 drives a Bentley but ever since Dr No, the fictional spy has been indelibly linked to Aston Martin.
And it works; driving an Aston really does make you feel a bit like Bond. But, just like the superspy has in recent years, Aston has had to evolve and now it’s the turn of the V8 Vantage to get a gritty reboot. In production for 12 years, the Vantage was distinctly old school, despite still looking as desirable today as when it was launched.
The new Aston Vantage is a smart evolution which brings the car bang up-to-date but the result is sure to be polarising, both in the way it looks and how it moves. The styling takes some obvious cues from the track-only Vulcan and overall manages to up the sculpted look of its predecessor with an exaggerated sense of sheet metal being wrapped tautly around the occupants and drivetrain. But the gaping grille and front-splitter combo looks menacingly shark-like from some angles but groper (the fish not the Weinstein) like from others and the rear is a bit, dare I say it, Civic Type-R. If you think it looks a lot like the Bond-only DB10, it’s actually the other way round; that car was effectively a Vantage concept.
Under the nicely power-bulging bonnet is a twin-turbo AMG-sourced 4.0-litre V8 producing 375kW and 685Nm of torque, good for a 100km/h sprint in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 314km/h. Before traditionalists bemoan the loss of a naturally-aspirated powerplant, this isn’t the first forced induction Vantage, that honour goes to the frankly ludicrous twin-supercharged model made in the 90s.
What they might not like is the fact that the only transmission option is the all but ubiquitous ZF eight-speed automatic. There isn’t even a pretend gearlever; drive is selected using DB9 style buttons in the centre console. Yes, I know automatics are now faster, more fuel-efficient and reliable than manuals but come on Aston, at least offer row-your-own as an option. The interior itself is definitely a vast improvement over the decidedly dated outgoing Vantage (which had one of the worst sat-nav systems ever encountered) and seems to take a lot of its cues from the related (in engine terms at least) AMG GT.
The previous generation Vantage was never quite up there in handling terms with Italian or German rivals but the new car seems likely to take the fight to them with aluminium architecture that is shared with the DB11 James drove in March but with 70 percent of the components unique to this model. Adaptive damping, torque vectoring and an electronic diff which can react much quicker than a mechanical LSD will allow you to go from Bond to Bogan in milliseconds.
The car will be in Aussie showrooms next year with a starting price of $299,950.
For more info head to Aston Martin’s website.